Approaching 150 years since the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860–1941) there remains a certain ambivalence about his legacy. Should he be judged primarily as a pianist or as a composer-pianist? The three works on this disc make the strongest possible case for the latter. The large-scale Piano Sonata in E flat minor, Op 21, is a powerful, turbulent work, showing the composer’s affinity with Rachmaninov in its passion and extreme technical difficulty, contrasting on occasion with writing of affecting simplicity.
The brilliant Jonathan Plowright is the ideal apologist for this music—a keen advocate of the Polish Romantic repertoire, possessed of the highest qualities of technique and interpretation.